Andrea Allisonon Saturday, January 29, 2011
Career Press, July 20, 2010 Paperback, 192 pages ISBN: 9781601631107 Ordering Information: Amazon.com
We all know about fairies-- they’re usually helpful, ethereal creatures in children’s stories and Walt Disney films, flitting about doing good, right?
In ancient times, the concept of fairies was rather different. They were the often-dangerous embodiment of the land, dark and unpredictable spirits that watched Humanity with a jaundiced and hostile eye. And, according to conventional folk wisdom, they were to be feared rather than trusted. Indeed, in their original form, many of our “fairy tales” read more like late-night horror stories.
Dr. Bob Curran investigates the folkloric roots of the fairy kind, tracing their origins from the sprites and maenads of Classical times to the sanitized versions of the English Victorians. Among other aspects, he examines the connections in the Christian mind between the fairy kind and demons; the links between fairies and ancient, pagan gods; and the often-strained relations between fairies and humans across the ages.
This is not a book for those who believe that fairies are friendly, kindly creatures. With the growing and anticipated interest in fairies--particularly given the forthcoming Disney film Wings, starring Miley Cyrus--Dark Fairies is a timely and valuable new title.
I must first compliment the illustrator Ian Daniels. The cover art and illustrations in this book are beautifully done. Almost makes you feel like you're not reading a nonfiction novel, but don't let it fool you. Dark Fairies is not a tremendously light read.
I thought I knew a great deal about fairies. I certainly knew they weren't all of the Tinkerbell variety. A few pages in to the book, I realized there was so much more information concerning the subject I had yet to come across. Dark Fairies not only covers the sinister side of these creatures but also goes in to depth their connection to trolls, elves and even angels. The transitions between each story are smooth. The material is not too hard to understand. Of course, I always manage to find some kind of flaw.
As previously stated, the illustrations in this book are fabulous. However, I wish there was some photos mixed in as well. Curran provided background information concerning a series of photos of alleged fairies but didn't include any of the actual photos. So, if anyone wasn't familiar with the case, they would either miss out or have to look it up. In my case, the next book I'm reading for review covered the same story and included a couple of the photographs.
Overall, I would recommend this book for anyone who loves the subject of fairies.
Binnenveld House or Huissen House was built in 1735 and is one of Holland's most haunted houses. This one house has the citizens of Huissen divided into two groups: the believers and the nonbelievers. For years, kids didn't feel comfortable playing near the building. Locals passed the house as quickly as they could to avoid the feeling of being watched by its round windows. The numerous deaths and bad luck associated with the house has led to its notorious bad reputation.
In 1770, hundreds of Huissen residents fled to the house, seeking shelter from a flood. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to save 200 of the town's inhabitants. During World War II, a German soldier was killed inside Binnenveld and supposedly four females committed suicide in the attic during different years but by the same method of hanging.
Several former owners experienced various amounts of bad luck before and after purchasing the house, including two famous Dutch celebrities. The first victim was the famous entertainer and motivation coach Emile Ratelband. He bought the house for his son in may 2008 with plans to renovate it. Ratelband didn't believe in ghosts despite rumors about the house. The family experienced repeated banging sounds, unexplainable piano music and other weird noises. Shortly after moving in, the family left and put Binnenveld up for sale immediately.
About a year later, eccentric Dutch millionaire Johan Vlemmix was intrigued by the reputation of Binnenveld and set his mind on buying it. On his way to Huissen for a meeting with Ratelband, his car navigation kit stopped functioning. He stopped at a gas station to look for directions in a book of maps but the page with the map of Huissen was missing. Later his car suffered a blowout costing him to arrive four hours too late for his appointment. Johan Vlemmix bought the house the same day. He soon realized all the stories were true. A pigeon flew into his face in the attic, he heard the mysterious piano music and noises. Doors started closing by themselves with force, a ceiling leaked water and he heard sounds like someone was walking on the floor above him.
Psychics told him that there was a body buried in the cellar. Investigations led to the conclusion the area was big enough to bury a body. He planned to open the floor live on his personal free internet tv-station. However, all that was found was a second concrete floor. The ghosts didn't really bother him, but Vlemmix decided to put the house on the market anyways because of all the bad luck he had which included losing over 500,000 euros in his business, his girlfriend left him and health issues.
Andrea Allisonon Wednesday, January 26, 2011
UPDATE - The contest is closed and winners have been notified
I'm ashamed to say I have neglected my little giveaway for almost two months now. I can blame the holidays, writing or whatever else for poor management but at the end of the day, it sits idly with very few entries. So, please allow me to reorganize.
The same prizes are up for grabs. Two winners will be randomly chosen using Random.org. One will receive a brand new copy of The Walking Dead Vol 1: Days Gone Bye. This is the first six issues of the comic book version of the hit AMC show. The second winner will receive a used copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Anyone who is a fan of Jane Austen and zombies will love this book.
The previous rules were slightly vast. So, allow me to make it simple. Leave a comment with your answer to the trivia question, name and email and you're entered. If you've entered already according to the old rules, you need not have to provide another entry again. Yours has been counted. One entry per person. U.S. residents only. The deadline remains January 31st.
Trivia question: In "Days Gone Bye", why was Rick Grimes in the hospital?
This particular place caught my eye after learning about it on The History Channel. It's called El Camino de la Muerte a.k.a The Death Road. Why is it called The Death Road? Over 200,000 people, about 150 people each year, have died since this road was constructed.
They don't have an exact number of deaths as many buses with unregistered passengers have ended in accidents. It seems like buses are the ones most often having accidents on that road. Located in Bolivia, it is the only way to get from La Paz to the Amazon. They are in the process of building a safer route but after many years and millions of dollars, they are still not close to finishing it.
One particular man was traveling with his wife and child on the road in a bus. The bus tumbled over the edge, about a 2,000 ft drop. His wife and child both died, but the man survived. After the man recovered a bit, days after the accident, he traveled on the road once again in another bus in search of his child's body which was never found. This bus also tumbled over the edge and yet he survived the 2nd accident. Now, the locals consider him cursed and will not travel with him. That's got to be rough.
Some say the road is also haunted some who have tried to warn people of possible danger. It's of no surprise considering how many people have died there.
Narrow sections (San Juan Pass being the most dangerous), blind curves, and climate changes all keep this road as one of the top places to go for thrill seekers. If you're superstitious, be sure and stop by the Witches' Market in La Paz for a good luck charm before your journey.
Andrea Allisonon Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Edgar Allan Poe, the American literary master of the macabre who penned poems such as "The Raven" and grisly short stories including "The Tell-Tale Heart," "The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Pit and the Pendulum" as well as the first modern detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" died in 1849 in Baltimore at age 40 after collapsing in a tavern.
Sometime in the 1940s, an anonymous man began the annual tribute at Poe's grave on the anniversary of the writer's birth. The "Poe toaster" was always seen dressed in black, wearing a white scarf with a wide-brimmed hat. He always left three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac and later a few handwritten notes. This tradition was first referenced in print in 1949 by The Evening Sun of Baltimore.
After more than 60 years, the mysterious man and his tribute were a no show last year. Many believe he may have had car trouble or fallen ill. Today, many Poe fans gathered at Westminster Hall and Burying Ground, hoping to see the "Poe toaster" and ritual in action. Unfortunately, the real visitor didn't show and is now believed to have died. Four impostors came in his place. One emerged from a white stretch limo shortly after midnight. Two others appeared to be women. The fourth was an older man. All walked in clear sight of the Poe fans, contrary to the secretive nature of the real Poe toaster. All wore black hats and left roses and cognac, and two left notes, but none of the four arranged the roses in the unique pattern established by the Poe toaster over the decades.
The true identity of the real toaster may never be known. However, while this tradition may be a thing of the past, a new one seems to be blooming. Majority of those who attended this year are planning to return next year and the years to come. I doubt there will be a January 19th absent of roses and cognac at Edgar Allan Poe's grave.
Frankford Lucas is the chief superintendent in the local police force. He is well respected and well thought of. However, he has a secret. Ever since childhood, he has visited The Quiet Road, an old cobblestone street where he always encounters a cloaked figure who magnetically draws him closer in his dreams. He considered this Quiet Road as a sanctuary, but events unfold to prove otherwise. Gruesome murders are being carried out and trophies begin turning up in his flat with no rational explanation. Who is slaughtering the innocent victims and why?
Profiler Lenny Docker introduces a clairvoyant into the investigation and The Sarsaparilla Duchess, seems to know more about Frankford Lucas than she should. In time, Frankford Lucas learns the true secret of The Quiet Road and realises he is dealing with a force beyond his control. Can he save his soul from darkness, and can he save the souls of others who cannot help themselves? The Road is long as is the investigation leading the reader on an intense journey they will not forget in a hurry!
This is a review that is long overdue. I read and reviewed Annie Frame's debut novel Imprint in October of last year. It left me anticipating her second literary work of art. I wasn't disappointed.
Frame not only relays the story of mediums and demons constant battles for control of the human race but also Frankford Lucas a.k.a. Victor Trotter's transformation from respected high ranking police official to murder suspect turned spiritual saint. With each murder, you're given another clue to the puzzle and just when you think the story has no other place to go, you're delighted with another twist. The descriptions are painted beautifully. You get a real sense of where the story is taking place and who is involved.
While the book is a real page turner, I did have a couple of reservations. It seems Frame may have been visited by that awful spell check monster. There's a reason why you should never trust it. On occasion, I would find a word that was a letter or two away from what it should have been such as "that" was in place of "than" or "flesh" instead of "fresh". However, this miscalculation was rather small compared to its companion. I felt the character development of Frankford Lucas started off rather slow. This is a man who has been in the police force for many years but yet didn't show much emotion when murder trophies began showing up. I've heard of denial but he reacted as if he was getting his newspaper on any given day. You'd expect an inner struggle of some sorts. It didn't come off natural. This character didn't really open up until he was arrested for murder.
The Quiet Road is a riveting supernatural thriller. Definitely worth the read.
Andrea Allisonon Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I've heard several stories concerning cemeteries and tombstones. You would think a legend about a glowing tombstone would be a work of fiction. However, several states including Texas and Missouri have their own version of the Glowing Tombstone. This post concentrates on the Benton, Kentucky version.
Legend states an old married couple lived near a cemetery. One night, they heard strange activity coming from a nearby barn and believed it to be cult activity. The old man decided to check out what this cult was doing. When he didn't return, his wife went to search for him. She found him dead, hanging in the barn. Now, his tombstone glows at night to warn others his vengeful spirit is still waiting in the barn for the men who killed him.
Supposedly, the house the couple lived in is gone. There were attempts to build a new house on the property for a new couple. However, it mysteriously fell down. The barn still stands.
From what I understand, the exact location of the tombstone is on private property. If so, seek permission from the owner(s) before visiting. Trespassing could lead you to being arrested.
Andrea Allisonon Wednesday, January 05, 2011
Many flock to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada to bare witness to its romantic setting. However, its beauty doesn't overshadow a local legend. The tunnel is located in the northwest end of Niagara Falls and was originally built to be a rail tunnel in the early 1900s. The only problem was the Grand Trunk Railroad went bankrupt after World War I and it was never finished. Even though the tunnel was abandoned it would never be forgotten.
Over a century ago, a farm house located near the tunnel caught fire one night. A girl, clothes engulfed in flames, ran screaming from the house into the tunnel in the attempts of putting it out. Unfortunately, she collapsed and died inside the tunnel. There are variations to this story.
One states an enraged father sat his daughter on fire in the tunnel after learning his wife was rewarded custody of their kids in a nasty divorce battle. Another story reports that a young girl was raped inside the tunnel and her body was burned to cover the evidence. No one knows which version if any are true. However, what is known is that someone did die in the tunnel.
It was dubbed the Screaming Tunnel because they say if you stand in it and light a match you will hear a scream before the flame goes out.
I know the winner of The Walking Dead contest was to be announced yesterday. However, due to low entries, I have decided to extend the deadline by another month which means you have 28 more days to get your entry in. Be sure and read the rules carefully. Now on to this week's question.
What supernatural discoveries do you believe will be revealed in 2011?